Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Peak Of Sanity

In his book "Peak Everything", author Richard Heinberg points out that civilization is effectively running out of all fundamental resources, not just oil.

This post deals with what authors of that ilk, what government, and what many others understandably leave out: the peak of sanity.

Regular readers here know that The Dredd Blog is known for pointing out that we have reached passed the peak of sanity in the USA, meaning that sanity is on the decline.

While it hasn't been said exactly with the words "The Peak of Sanity", until this post, regular readers know that is the thrust of many, many Dredd Blog posts about national dementia in the USA.

We have even quoted public documents concerning the field of dementia in the USA, which contain the remarkable words:
OUR government is ignoring what is likely to become the single greatest threat to the health of Americans: Alzheimer’s disease, an illness that is 100 percent incurable and 100 percent fatal.
(Your Health Is Their Number 1 Enemy). We go on to say in "Will Elections Cure The Disease", that dementia is even becoming an incurable national characteristic that has forged the domestic & foreign policies of endless wars, financial crime sprees, runaway war deficits, criminal dominion over public money, demise of constitutional values, and feckless administrative, judicial, & legislative reactions.

The situation is made more dire because there is no democratic mechanism, once called accountability, for the people to keep those who are suffering from dementia out of public offices of power.

The voters are increasingly given a menu of rotting ideology to chose from, none of the choices designed to solve the problems, so by and large the exercise is replacing one demented policy with another one.

Thus, the business as usual demise has spiralled out of the control of the citizenry.

The fundamental reason it is out of control is that it really is not recognized, because we use a form of cognition and debate to handle these absolutely monumental problems that simply cannot deal with it:
We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” —Albert Einstein
(Brainy Quotes). Or to put it yet another way:
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." —Albert Einstein
(Brainy Quotes). That "form of cognition and debate" is BAU (business as usual), which takes the format: "we have always solved our problems, therefore we will solve these problems", "relax, kick back and enjoy watching your experts at work who will save you", "these things take time", "we are not perfect", "we have formed a commission of those who caused the problem in the first place to solve it", and on and on this insanity spreads.

What is not being factored in yet, even by competent scientists, which I think is going to change, is this impact of national and global dementia on the ability to actually solve the problems.

The pie charts, black board formulae, spread sheets, computer models, textbooks, white papers, and the like, which project the peak of everything, leave out the fact that these looming catastrophic circumstances will affect the psychology of the populace in very negative, cognition jarring ways.

The virtual explosion of individual dementia is a microcosm of the related macrocosm that is happening on a national, and eventually if not already, a global scale.

The lizard brain will arise to blot out the effective functioning of the larger cognitive brain, which does not bode well for this current civilization.

Let's hope the next civilization can focus first and foremost on the health of the Earth which produces a substantial portion of the health of civilization, or its demise, depending on the status of the environmental mental health of a given civilization.

The next post in this series is here.


  1. Excellent post topic. The idea that we can wait until "just in time" (business's main buzzword these days) to deal with all these peak everything issues, and then expect that everyone is going to remain "cool, calm, and collected" throughout the process is surely mistaken. The craziness that will ensue (and in fact has already begun quite some time ago) will surely add greatly to the pain and frustration felt by all involved.

    I peg the real beginning of the dementia to be somewhere around 1980 or so, but it might have been as early as 1963 and the Kennedy assassination. Goldwater's failed run in '64 really signaled the beginning of the hard right conservative madness, which gave us Nixon, Vietnam, Watergate, the Iran hostage crisis, and Reagan shortly thereafter, with Johnson and Carter (although Carter was indeed prescient in his warnings to conserve) pretty much destroying liberal credibility for good. Clinton owed most of his success to blatant conservative appeasement, and the rest is, as they say, history. The fact that anyone can call Obama a liberal and keep a straight face tells you all you need to know about how far right we've swung. And it's going to get much worse from here...

  2. disaffected,


    A corollary to that might be that in 1957 Hubbert predicted the peak oil in the U.S.A. as 1970, for the world circa 2000.

    There may be some analogy to the peak of sanity.

  3. Dredd,

    The reason I say Reagan is that his "Morning in America" BS was the beginning of the great nostalgia wave in American politics - the idea that if we could just turn back the clock to a magical time that never actually was - when whites ran the world and US supremacy was unquestioned, when taxes were zero and the military kicked ass all over the world just because they could, when queers and liberals (they're the same thing you know) had the good sense to remain in the closet or suffer the righteous consequences of their choices - then everything would be OK for ever and ever Amen.

    That pre-Alzheimer's (in actual fact) world view has persisted and grown ever since, so that now even an idiot like W - who even Reagan would have loathed - can lay claim to the same grandiose fantasies and take them to previously unimaginable heights. You actually could not write fiction as good as the political reality we have on the ground today. Just couldn't do it.

  4. disaffected,

    I think Alzheimer's was named after a scientist / doctor of that name circa 1910, but some historians say it was named that by the head of the hospital so they could get more grants.

    I use it as an example of an epidemic, but there is a larger epidemic if one considers the definition:

    "A progressive decline in cognitive function due to damage or disease in the brain beyond what might be expected from normal aging. Areas particularly affected include memory, attention, judgement, language and problem solving." (dementia, Wiktionary, emphasis added).

    This is especially fitting, and your comment fits well too, when we consider that dementia is a situation of many degrees from lite to heavy.

    We all suffer some of it as a result of the modern world's lack of memory as to what planet it is on, attention deficit with regard to treating the planet well, bad judgment about technology that comports with the requisites for not destroying our life sustaining planet, a language of groupspeak, doublespeak, spin, and propaganda, and last but not least a lack of capacity to solve these problems.

    That fits the definition to a "T".

  5. Yep, that's when military spending and deficits both exploded, that's when government corruption became rampant and the accepted norm, and shortly thereafter came the global virtual financial economy and the mobilization of capital flows and the boom/bust cycles all of that ensured would be the new normal.

    Dealing with climate change will ultimately be beyond the scope of national governments anyway (at least those that aren't totalitarian), as they are not even the primary actors in the world anymore. The bottom line is that if the corporations and the plutocracy that runs them don't want to deal with climate change then it simply won't be. And I think the verdict's already been rendered on that question.